When Humanity Takes a Backseat to Greed

I'm not going to lie, friends. I'm struggling with our government. I'm deeply discouraged. There are some nonsensical, horrid things happening. Yes, I know we're resisting. Yes, I know a lot has not passed that was proposed. But I'm sure you've read the bill that just made it through the House about proposed health care changes. The one that says rape is a pre-existing condition. Yeah, that one. I'm honestly struggling to put into words how angry and frustrated I feel about this. And there are so many other things about this bill to be angry about. For now, though, I'll just unpack this one bulging suitcase - the fact that we have a man in office who assaults women and then encourages legislation that prohibits women from getting medically necessary care when these things happen. Not even just when these things happen. FOR ALL TIME AFTER THESE THINGS HAPPEN EVEN IF THEY ARE SEEKING CARE FOR OTHER REASONS. 

I'm in a rage. I want to break things. I want to scream. There is absolutely no logical reason for something like this to have even been SUGGESTED. Who in their right mind comes up with this as a possible solution to our health care expenses? In a culture where we further victimize women who come forward, who experience full-blown, life-long character assassinations for speaking truth and advocating for justice? And is there real justice after assault???? Even if that person rots in prison, even if in a civil suit restitution is made, there is no undoing assault. Read the letter from the victim of Brock Turner if you don't know what assault does to the human mind, soul and body. 

So what we do is we block women from getting the care they need. We reinforce social norms (read: rape culture) to shame women, blame women, marginalize women FOR BEING ASSAULTED. I'm literally wringing my hands right now. I just can't even wrap my mind around this. There is no justification for this legislation. There is no peace, no justice, no fucking humanity in this. NONE. Where have we buried our humanity?!?! When did we trade our souls for money? When did we decide that a woman bloodied, battered and torn open is not deserving of justice, care, basic human rights? Where inside of each of us is the place that says that it is ok to blame someone for a life-altering traumatic experience? Rape is not ok. Blaming someone for rape is further victimizing victims. How is this a gray area? 

At what point did we decide that penises are not attached to brains with fully functioning control centers? We must control our impulses to harm other people. And if we cannot, we need to be removed from society. We do not alter society to enable predators. We care for predators by tucking them away. I'm sorry. We need to understand that man is responsible for man's actions. We need to understand that tiptoeing around violence increases violence. We must stand up. We must fight back. We must love our fellow man, woman and child. We belong to each other. How do we not see that? And if we do, how do we trade that interconnectedness for profit? How can we profit from throwing women into mass graves, leaving us to the wolves of violence and lust and a total lack of personal responsibility? This is not winning. This is not making America great again. This is fundamentally irresponsible. This is re-victimizing victims. This is violence. It cannot be tolerated. If you won't reach into that mass grave and pull women out, get the hell out of my country. 

America - Trends in Victim Blaming and a Lack of Impulse Control

I can't help but feel in that light of recent events, we have a problem in this country with victim-blaming. I know this isn't a new thing to highlight and yet, as a woman who is at greater risk for sexual assault, I have found comments related to police brutality and what the victims could have done to prevent their murders to be quite triggering. Rather than saying, we need to deal with our issues of impulse control and a propensity towards violence (which is a critical piece to both police brutality and sexual assault), we want to run a post-mortem or post-attack rap sheet on victims, further victimizing already targeted groups. Frankly, what the victim is wearing, whether or not they have a criminal record is no indication of their worthiness of being violated. They are not worthy of being violated. There is no such thing as being worthy of victimization. That's the whole point. They were preyed upon and the responsibility for such immoral activity must rest in the hands of the person who performed such atrocities. 
We want to believe we live in a world where good behavior increases our likelihood for safety. While I'm sure being respectful to police officers in specific situations may have been helpful, insinuating that respectful words and tones will keep people from being brutalized inevitably blames the victim for their own death. And frankly, it's fundamentally untrue that this will keep black people safe. As if it isn't difficult enough to reconcile the wrongful death, we have to heap responsibility on the victims and their families shoulders. It's wrong. Frankly, a lot of wrongful deaths in police interactions occur before the victim is even able to provide identification, thereby making all information about them after the fact completely irrelevant.
Why can't we just say, people with privilege (cops in these brutality cases, rapists in cases of assault) need to gain better control of their fear and need to dominate another person? This even goes back to my philosophy about parenting. I have more privilege than my children. Therefore, I must be the bigger person. If my children are violent towards me, that does not excuse me to be violent towards them. I must stay calm. I must de-escalate. I am capable of maintaining control without asserting domination. How can we expect our constituents to respect police authority when the policemen victimize their communities? Privilege needs greater accountability. If we begin to respect those with less privilege, then fair treatment will result. As fair treatment becomes consistent, attitudes will shift over time. If the police have lost respect, then they need to work to gain it back. It's easier to accept discipline from a safe person than from someone who might shoot you for obeying their orders. This is easy for me to see as a white person who has never been scared of the police. 
We have this weird idea in our culture that "real men don't back down." Our police force can't safely de-escalate because we believe the authoritative response to force is greater force. We want to be bigger, more powerful, further weaponized (hello bomb-robots!) in order to protect ourselves from each other. We need to look within and recognize that the "other" isn't the problem. The problem is our gaping need for security. This need for personal security is relegating communal security as a secondary priority. And when push comes to shove (literally), we choose self-preservation every time. I understand that this is a human instinct. It's part of how we've survived each other this long. And yet, I want to believe that we can learn to prioritize the group over self. Our culture is so individualized that we do not know how to deal with our connection to each other. So many of us feel brutalized over the week's events (I know I can't speak into this really as a non-member of the black community). Why? Because we are connected. Deep down, we want peace. We want to find a way to make the community safe without having to die in the process. We've got our work cut out for us, for sure. I think we should start with sitting in our fears, taking responsibility for our impulses and refusing to blame victims for their deaths.